Montreal-born freelance writer Michael Kaminer caused a stir in allegedly dull Ottawa this week with an article in the Washington Post lauding our capital’s hip restaurants, livable neighbourhoods and “unselfconscious cool.”

Do you have any count of how many Canadian media interviews you’ve done since your article ran?
Honestly, it was less than 10. A lot of them were radio interviews, but what’s really impressive is how far the piece ended up travelling online and in other newspapers and on the wires. That was really surprising to me.

Does it somewhat undercut your findings about our confidence and “unselfconscious cool” that we’re making such a fuss that you wrote some nice things about us?
I really did feel this new confidence in Ottawa. I just saw something that was in the air. But considering how grateful people have been for the fact that they were paid compliments, it does make me wonder.

As a former public relations professional, how would Ottawa spread the word about Ottawa, our secret that we’re not entirely boring?
They need to get the word out about what makes Ottawa Ottawa these days. There seems to be a lot of creative energy. My impression was that it’s the kind of place where a lot of smart people have chosen to live. There’s a fantastic quality of life, and I think Ottawa could do a good job of telling that story.

Our new tourism slogan is “Just Like You.” It cost $100,000. How would you rate that?
Oh my. I’d say see if you can get a refund. I don’t want to travel somewhere because it’s just like me, actually. I want to travel somewhere because I like to experience different people and different places, different ideas and different sights. So, if I want to be just like me, I’ll stay in Manhattan, I guess.

I agree that Ottawa’s fantastic, but I’m still periodically jealous of Montrealers. Is that normal?
A lot of people seem to be jealous of Montrealers, and that city also has a fantastic quality of life. You also have to have to have a high tolerance for sort of sitting around and doing nothing, which Montrealers can also be really good at. (Laughs) I’m going to get in such trouble for that.

Latest From ...